Mar 21, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
That towering boys basketball dynasty at Jamesville-DeWitt only grows with each season – and each set of titles earned along the way.
It now stands at three consecutive New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championships, the latest of them earned Sunday afternoon when the Red Rams beat Newark 59-45 at Glens Falls Civic Center.
Overall, it’s the fifth state crown won by J-D, four of them in head coach Bob McKenney’s tenure.
It’s reached the point where nothing less than a state championship is expected. Even after the departure of Brandon Triche (to Syracuse University) and Alshwan Hymes (to Canisius), the target was on the Rams from the moment this season got underway.
J-D wore that target quite well. From the inside dominance of sophomores DaJuan Coleman and Tyler Cavanaugh to the perimeter play of Lamar Kearse, Zach Firestone, Jailaan Kinsey and Demetrius Mitchell, J-D has emerged as the state’s lone undefeated team – 24 games, 24 wins.
The last of these wins on the way to yet another public state title came against Newark, from Section V and Wayne County, halfway between Syracuse and Rochester.
And all attention was given to the inside duel between Coleman and the Reds’ star center, Javon McCrea, who is going to the University of Buffalo next year. McCrea had 25 points and 18 rebounds in Newark’s state semifinal win over Westbury.
J-D had little to worry about, though. Except for the game’s first two minutes, it would never trail.
Three consecutive baskets late in the first quarter from Kearse, Firestone and Coleman pushed J-D ahead for good, but Newark would stay close for the first half.
Both sides played at a frantic tempo, pressing on the defensive side, which led to all kinds of wild shots and turnovers. In fact, J-D did not make a 3-pointer the entire half, yet did enough to stretch to a 26-20 lead at the break, capped by Pete Drescher’s late free throws.
In a game like this, one big run might prove decisive – and J-D provided it during the third quarter with a 14-2 spurt that covered less than four minutes of game time, all of it done after McCrea went to the bench with his third foul.
Mitchell and Kearse both hit on a pair of baskets during this run, breaking Newark’s pressure and finding open looks on the other end. By doing so, they allowed the Rams to establish firm command, even though Coleman sat out a good portion of the period due to three fouls.
Early in the fourth quarter, J-D put it away as Coleman got open for a dunk, hit on a pretty turnaround jumper on the baseline and Firestone hit a 3-pointer.
Coleman had 12 points and 13 rebounds and earned tournament MVP honors. Cavanaugh also achieved a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds as Kearse (an All-Tournament selection) provided a team-best 17 points and Mitchell added eight points.
McCrea, in defeat, produced 16 points and 17 rebounds, but the Rams’ defense has a strong outing, holding Newark to 16-for-66 shooting (24.2 percent), as J-D took fewer shots (44), but made more of them – 23, for a total better than 50 percent.
J-D will put its 24-0 record on the line as it returns to Glens Falls for next weekend’s Federataion championships, with the semifinals Friday against Bedford Academy (New York City) and the finals Saturday night. Long Island Lutheran (who beat J-D in last year’s Federation title game) and Nichols meet in the other semifinal.